BHUBANESWAR: Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday met Union Health and Family Welfare Minister JP Nadda in New Delhi and sought the Health Ministry’s support in combating the spread of deadly Japanese Encephalitis (JE) in Odisha.
Pradhan apprised Nadda about the situation in the tribal-dominated Malkangiri district where the vector borne disease has taken lives of 38 children so far.
“I requested the Union Health Minister to send a high level fact-finding team to investigate the causes of the outbreak of the disease and also advise remedial measures for controlling the mosquito-borne disease,” Pradhan told reporters after the meeting. Pradhan has also written to Nadda requesting all possible support for combating the spread of the disease to other districts.
Stating that the disease has already assumed epidemic proportions with three-four children dying every day, Pradhan told Nadda that the situation is getting out of control.Assuring all possible assistance to the State Government, Nadda told reporters that he will consider Pradhan’s request for sending a Central expert team to Odisha.“I have been monitoring the situation and am in constant touch with Odisha Government,” Nadda said. Besides, the Union Health Secretary is in regular touch with the State Health Secretary, he added.
A six-member team of the State BJP led by Bhrugu Baxipatra will visit the affected villages in Malkangiri on Friday to take stock of the situation and steps taken by the State Government to contain the epidemic.
The team will submit a report on the findings to both the State Government and Centre. The team members include MLA Radharani Panda, former minister Pradipta Nayak and Shiva Shankar Ulaka.
Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission has issued notices to the district and State authorities seeking detailed report including steps taken to control the disease and rising deaths of children.